Three is not a crowd
February 25, 2016, 11:10 am
Filed under: February 2016 | Tags: , , , ,


February 25, 2016

Yesterday, we got well over an inch of rain in the space of three or four hours. Water was everywhere and we had maple sap to gather. The day went well as three guys worked their butts off. At the end of the day, the sap was gathered and all boiled, yielding the sweet, golden reward that is, Ohio pure maple syrup!

Mother nature is giving us a break for a day or two. The temperature has dropped and the sap is staying down in the tree roots. I am not complaining at all. I look forward to the next run, but will enjoy the break.

This photo isĀ from a couple of years ago. We were scrambling to gather firewood for boiling. I had never expected to get my sugarhouse and pans all set up, so wood until then, had been no concern. My neighbor had a large pile of slab wood from a recent timber harvest. He told me to take whatever I wanted. We would haul slab wood every day that we weren’t making syrup.

Not being prepared and always behind the eight ball, is not where I choose to be. I feel much better when things are all sorted out, wood is stacked and dry and a plan “B” is in place if needed. This year I am using plan “B” for unloading our sap. My hill is not high enough for the new storage tank, so gravity doesn’t work. Thank goodness for a pump and an extra tank. This method is far from perfect, but it is working very well.2016 first steam

This wood was cut, split and stacked last April. It burns very well, gives up lots of heat and gives this farmer a good feeling. We will use almost all of it by the seasons end. I am okay with that because I have plenty more all ready to be cut and stacked as soon as the maple season is done for this year. The horses and I will have it full again in no time!

Maple 2016

Jake n the boys

February 23, 2016

Finally, the maple season is upon us. After much scrambling with the new sugarhouse addition, the new head tank and getting used to our new sap hauling sled, we got underway. The trees ran good over the weekend and are dripping very nice as I write. This is one of my most favorite times of the year. I am busy as heck but finding time to immerse my self in all that is maple!

Our first day of gathering, I was able to get my son Jake to help. He is driving the horses to the sled in the photo above. Things went well and we collected about 1000 gallons of maple sap. We are also boiling some sap for a friend. He had a good run as well.

2016 first steam

The first steam rolls out of the roof as we get the sap boiling. The new head tank performed flawlessly. The dry chunk wood, split and stacked last April made a good hot fire. The room was soon filled by the sweet aroma of spring here at Riceland Meadows.


Our 4 by 14 evaporator was working hard thanks to the amount of sap and the dry wood. I choose to do things the old-fashioned way, in the manner of my parents and grandparents. I know there are many short cuts available to me in the maple syrup making process, but I prefer to gather sap from tree to tree with a team of horses. I choose to boil the 40:1 ratio in open pans over a hot wood fire without the benefit of reverse osmosis. I am an old soul and very proud of that fact.

first run 2016

To me……. It’s worth it!

The Old Man and the Geek
February 15, 2016, 11:28 am
Filed under: February 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

February 15, 2016

Oh dear readers, I have been being educated by the “Geek Squad” about buying a new computer. Our old one finally lost it’s battle with spam, malware, battery life viruses. It was a good computer that helped me learn Windows 7 after my long love affair with Windows XP. I am an old dog who learns new tricks slowly, agonizingly slowly!

Once I realized that I was only prolonging my computer’s life, it was time to act. I closed the lid and tried to move on. After all, it wasn’t fair to either of us. My computer trying its little memory to recall my documents and photos, only to crash right in the middle of a project that I was trying to complete. I would curse a tirade as my work flew out into cyberspace, never to return. I bet its lost up there somewhere on a “cloud”, but in any case it’s gone.

I looked at trade magazines, searched the internet on my phone and asked some of the savvy folks at work, about which computer to buy. I got a whole bunch of answers and suggestions, but mostly I got more confused. I decided to visit a store that specializes in all things technical. I walked in to a display of choices that almost scared me. The saving grace of the place were all these boys and girls walking around with “Bluetooth” devices in their ears. I was at an alien place, so why wouldn’t all the little helpers be wearing headgear from outer space? After all they have to communicate with those “Clouds”!

I found a young man of about 14 to help me, turns out he is married with children. When did all these people start looking so darn young? Even the policemen look like like they should be trying out for the 9th grade basketball team! Anyway, I told the young man about my dearly departed device. I explained that I need a replacement that is VERY simple to operate. He told me, “Sir, they are all simple to operate.” I laughed, he didn’t.

In short order we came home with a small computer, armed with all the latest gadgets and capabilities. I hated it. It had a gray scale screen. (Who ever thought that up still amazes me!) It was small and hard to see with bifocals. It only had one USB port and I needed that for my wireless mouse, because that whole finger swipe thing evades me! There was no place to plug in my camera, charge my phone or earphones. There was no CD drive and I had one heck of a time figuring out how to even turn the darn thing on! I took that one back….actually, my wife came to my rescue and took it back.

I am now the proud owner of a new laptop. Turns out none of them have CD drives anymore. Jeeze, I’m still hanging on to my old eight track tapes! My photos and documents are all on a jump drive (also called flash drive, memory stick or little flat thingy). I am learning Windows ten (very slowly, see above) I sorted my way to my BLOG, but you will notice that there is no photo…That is because all of my pictures are now in a numbers format. That problem may take awhile to sort out, but thanks to the young “Poindexters” of the Geek Squad, I am up and ..walking…I sure as heck am not up and running…photos will return soon, that is if I can talk them down off the cloud!